RHUBARB + GINGER CHUTNEY

In this time of being able to access most fruit and veg all year round, forced rhubarb remains staunch in only making a brief appearance each year from late January to April. When it does, I want to preserve as much of it as possible, but despite my best intentions, this chutney never lasts very long.

Makes a medium jar (around 14 ounces)

1 dried Kashmiri chile or other mild dried red chile
1½ tablespoons canola oil
½ a star anise
3 whole cloves
1½-inch cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon black peppercorns, roughly ground
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom (or finely ground seeds from 3 pods)
3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1½-inch pieces
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt

Chop the Kashmiri chile into tiny pieces and keep to one side.

Put the oil into a large frying pan over medium heat and, when hot, add the star anise, cloves, cinnamon stick, and chile pieces. When the cloves puff up in the hot oil, add the black peppercorns and cardamom. Stir to mix, then add the ginger. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the rhubarb, lemon juice, sugar, and salt. Leave to cook for 6 minutes, or until just tender but not mushy.

Take off the heat and check the sugar, salt, and lemon juice—it should be sweet, hot, and sharp, so add more if need be. Leave to cool and transfer to a clean jar. This chutney will keep for up to a week in the fridge.